Snuffbox with portrait print of Franklin, Voltaire, and Rousseau, late 18th century (after 1790)
Photo by Peter Harholdt, 2004
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Photo by Peter Harholdt, 2004

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The cylindrical snuffbox is turned; it is of horn, with satinwood ornament. It is in two halves: a lower, the container, with a deep inner well; and an upper, the cover, which fits over the lower. The top surface of the cover is concave. Within is a disk of paper bearing an engraved image: a group portrait of the heads and shoulders of Voltaire, Rousseau and Franklin, clustered together. They look outward toward the viewer, smiling slightly. Above their heads is a motto: Le Flambeau de l'Univers (The Light of the Universe). In a narrow band around the edge of the image are their names, and their birth and death dates. The engraving is colored in sober tones: buff, brown and russet. The print is protected by a shallowly convex glass disc held in place by a gilt metal ring stamped with a line of running ornament in relief. Terms of Use Credits